18 May 2006 Edition
An Phoblacht welcomes readers' letters. Letters in Irish or English should be kept short (no more than 200 words) and typed or handwritten clearly, double-spaced and on one side of the paper only. Name and address should be supplied for verification, but these will not be published if we are so requested.
Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla. Is fearr litreacha gearra (200 focal ar a méid) clóscríofa nó lámhscríofa go soiléir ar thaobh amháin den leathanach. Cuir ainm agus seoladh leis ach ní fhoilseoimid iad seo más é do thoil.
Michael McIlveen murder
The cross party decision to observe a minute's silence for murdered Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen, on the opening session of the Stormont Assembly, is to be welcomed. However certain parties cannot escape their responsibility for creating and maintaining a climate of sectarianism, particularly in Ballymena. If this gesture is to mean anything then the DUP must engage seriously with a view to getting the institutions up and running. If they fail to do so they will be perpetuating sectarianism. It is only with the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, with both communities working together, that the scourge of sectarianism can be tackled effectively.
The two governments have a responsibility to press this home and the DUP should be made aware that failure will reflect badly on them, with attendant negative consequences for that party and its position. Recent utterances from the DUP leave open the possibility that they may be considering a change of heart. This could just be brinkmanship. Maximum pressure should be applied between now and the November deadline. The two governments, and in particular the British government, have a huge responsibility here.
Dorset Street, Dublin
Dublin/Monaghan bombings anniversary
17 May will mark the 32nd anniversary of the Dublin Monaghan bombings, the greatest act of mass murder ever perpetrated in this state. It will be a sad anniversary not least because the public and indeed the relatives and victims have been denied justice for so long. Only a full public inquiry can deliver this. It is well known that the bombings raised serious questions for the Southern political and security establishments and successive Irish Governments have shirked their responsibility in this matter.
It is to be hoped that this anniversary will act as an impetus for this. I call on people to lobby and otherwise harass their political representatives and make sure that this anniversary is not ignored.
The present Justice Minister is fond of declaring his willingness to defend the state against subversion and has even justified leaks to the press of confidential Garda files on that basis. He should have no problems then in full disclosure of the Garda files on this case as a precursor to a full public inquiry. He has said he will make information available to the public if he believes they have a right to know. In fact he has said he will do it again and again and again. The only question then is whether he believes the people have a right to know the facts behind the biggest act of mass murder carried out in the state.
Drumcondra, Dublin 9
Gardaí - a force out of control
The dismissal of public order charges against Pat Rossiter, father of Brian Rossiter killed in Garda custody is proof, if proof were needed, that this is a force wildly out of control. The charges were brought against him after he indicated his intention to sue the state over his son's death. That a force already mired in controversy could feel able to take such action shows they believe themselves untouchable. They have displayed complete and utter contempt for the public's perception of them and will continue to do so until their actions bear some consequences.
It is notable that not one Garda has lost his pension over the scandal in Donegal. They were allowed to retire with virtually no consequences. Any individual that decides to engage in corrupt behaviour knows full well the tradition of no consequences and until this changes they will continue to act with impunity.
The reluctance of successive governments to confront this discredited force despite ample opportunity is sinister. Are they afraid of the force and if so why? Do the Gardaí have leverage over them? It is increasingly obvious that they do and one need only look at the various tribunals to imagine what that might be.
O'Rawe and the revisionists
Richard O' Rawe's assertion that a deal was on offer before the fifth hunger striker died just doesn't bear up to scrutiny. The most obvious reason why this could not be true is that until the publication of his book no one had heard this story. If the British establishment had information to that effect does any one seriously think that they would not have used it against the republican leadership?
It is sad that a former blanket man and POW should find himself a fellow traveller with the most anti republican elements in the country. Make no mistake these people will run and run with this in an effort to undermine the legacy of the hunger strikers. He has handed the revisionists an argument and will be constantly cited by them whether it be hacks or dishonest academics.
The brinkmanship of the British was well known during this period as evidenced by the 1980 hunger strike. It would have been criminally irresponsible to accept a deal with no guarantees after four men had already died.
Navan, Co Meath